Occupational therapists provide services to infants, toddlers and children who have or who are at risk for developmental delays or disabilities. Occupational therapy is concerned with a child's ability to participate in daily life activities or "occupations." Occupational therapists use their unique expertise to help children with social-emotional, physical, cognitive, communication, and adaptive behavioral challenges and to help children to be prepared for and perform important learning and school-related activities and to fulfill their rule as students. Through an understanding of the impact of disability, illness, and impairment on a child's development, plan, ability to learn new skills, and overall occupational performance, occupational therapists design interventions that promote healthy development, establish needed skills, and/or modify environments, all in support of participation in daily activities. Source: The Guide to Occupational Therapy Practice, 2nd edition. Bethesda: American Occupational Therapy Association, 2007. [7/1/2008: new]
Additional Resources: The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) does offer voluntary board certification for a Pediatric Occupational Therapist if the applicant meets the following requirements:
- Professional degree or equivalent in occupational therapy.
- Certified or licensed by and in good standing with an AOTA recognized credentialing or regulatory body.
- Minimum of 5 years of practice as an occupational therapist.
- Minimum of 5,000 hours of experience as an occupational therapist in the certification area in the last 7 calendar years.
- Minimum of 500 hours of experience delivering occupational therapy services in the certification area to clients (individuals, groups, or populations) in the last 5 calendar years. Service delivery may be paid or voluntary.
- Verification of employment.
AOTA Specialized Knowledge and Skills Paper: Occupational Therapy Practice in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unity (2006); AOTA Fact Sheets: Children and the Tsunami, OT for Children Birth to 3 Years of Age, OT's Role with Autism, OT in Educational Settings Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Transforming Caseload to Workload in School Based and Early Intervention OT Services, OT in Preschool Settings.